Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of cleaning nest boxes on box use, nest parasites and nesting success of house wren Troglodytes aedon at Mackinaw and East Bay, Illinois, USA

Published source details

Pacejka A.J. & Thompson C.F. (1996) Does removal of old nests from nestboxes by researchers affect mite populations in subsequent nests of house wrens? Journal of Field Ornithology, 67, 558-564


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Clean nest boxes to increase occupancy or reproductive success Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1993 in a floodplain and forest site in Illinois, USA (Pacejka & Thompson 1996), found that house wrens Troglodytes aedon nested in a lower proportion of cleaned nest boxes, compared to control boxes containing old nests (49% of 111 cleaned nest boxes used vs. 62% of 107 uncleaned boxes). There were no differences in reproductive output (5.5 nestlings/clutch surviving until 12 days old in cleaned nests vs. 5.2 in uncleaned nests, total of 24 nests examined) or mite infestation rates between box types. All boxes had been successfully used in 1992, with old nesting material removed from approximately half of them.